The Official Site of Author Joseph Heywood
JoeRoads.com: The Official Blog of Author Joe Heywood
24 Nov

Reflections: My Two Cents

CRYSTAL FALLS, SUNDAY, November 24, 2013 – Television BTB is a fragmented wasteland of garbage and TV up here is even worse because there are so few people and such a lower advertising base. This morning I watched a rerun of F Troop, which was running in prime time when I lived up here in 1966-70. Very, very odd.  And this morning I was treated to last night’s news from Marquette, which really bollixed my sense of reality. Were they talking about Sunday’s weather, or what? Weird.  After ten days of patrols up here, a few observations, and they are only that, observations of small-ball observations, not things to be generalized across the board:

1.     Last winter was very, very tough on the deer herd. There was snow still on the ground in Iron County on May 13. It is the late March, April and May snows that take the biggest toll on deer. In the past wildlife people have said an average winter kills 100,000 deer, and a bad one upwards of 200,000 or more. This was surely upwards of bad, and hunters and officers report seeing fewer fawns than usual. We had the same experience in the eastern UP.

2.     Very few hunters out this year. Every year seems to have fewer. The DNR says the biggest growth in licenses, percentage wise is among females, but I haven’t seen this and neither have the officers I talked to. It may be that the distaff element does not partake of the deer camp tradition as much as males do, and that they do their hunting closer to home in mornings and evenings before and after work. But in terms of seeing women and girls hunting, just not seeing it, and what I’ve seen has not changed in 13 years in trucks. When we do see kids, they are often hunting unsupervised. It’s as if they take hunter safety and then just do what their families have always done. When I do hear of kids hunting, apart from the very few I see, there are tales of 5-6-7 yr. olds hunting and shooting deer with their mentor. Something about this rubs me wrong too. In the old days over in the Eastern UP and across the river in Soo Canada, young boys went with pop and older brothers and uncles, etc, but were there merely as physical labor and once they hit 12 as gun bearers. They did not start actual hunting until they were older. Their training consisted of following blood kin around. I don’t know, but a six year old shooting a deer? Can he or she distinguish the diff between actual killing of a deer and an electronic game? No opinion, just a rub in my gut.

3.     As has become normal, I saw no African American hunters up here this season, or Asian Americans, or Hispanics. Over 13 years I’ve seen 10 black males, 8 in one group over 13 years.  Handfull of Asian Americans and Hispanics in that time. Not sure this means anything because down where my mom is from in Mississippi lots of black folks (her neighbors) hunted and fished with my mom’s dad and her brothers. Maybe this reflects socioeconomics and more effects of the recession?  Just asking. Seems if pro-hunting groups are serious they need to expand their efforts from women and kids to skin colors other than white. Maybe they are? If so, I’ve seen or heard nothing about it. Also then makes me wonder what the racial makeup of NRA membership is.

4.     Crystal Falls Forest Park lost yesterday in the high school football state semifinals, ending their season at 12 and 1. Their girls volleyballers lost Thursday night , also in the state semifinals. Great seasons for the Trojan jocks and jockettes. Great job, players and coaches. The Ishpeming Hematites won yesterday and will play in the state Division final next week, as will the Menominee Maroons in Division 5 (I think that’s the div). Great job by UP teams all. Seemed sort of sad to play their games in the warmed Yooper dome instead of outside in da untrammeled snow, eh, the way we did back in da day.

5.  The last two days of patrol weather was anything but pleasant, yet the officers were out there pressing forward. Downstate officers in most counties find it easy to find hunters and revelers. Up here you have to hunt for them, which add another element to the job. Down below, generally, there is a lot more traffic and contacts.  No matter where you are game wardening, snow the a great gift from the Game Warden in the Sky.

6. I dread going back below and being exposed to all the political bullshit floating in the “politosphere.”

7. Lots of cops hunt up here. Not sure why.

8. The “theme” this year seemed to be loaded guns in vehicles.  Every year is diff. We took only four illegal deer, which is down from a much higher average, but there is a week left in the season and more shenanigans lay ahead for sure.

9. If you like “wild” country, the western UP is the place for you, but please get off the paved roads and out of your vehicle to see the real beauty up close.

10.  The wolf hunt has so far logged 10 animals legally taken. There have been some illegal kills, but at least two of these people turned themselves in because the wolves they shot were collared. A smart move, methinks.

11. Our COs are equipped with good trucks and communications, great clothing, etc, but every officer still needs to have in his or her possession an infrared scope and the newest generation of night vision. A few pieces  at District HQ is not adequate for the job. If the state can’t or doesn’t want to pay, why not find a wealthy benefactor to take care of it and let the state pay for replacement equipment down the line? Just asking. There may be perfectly good reasons for the situation as it is, but being in the right side of the truck for a sustained period, night and day, I don’t see it. What I see is an unmet need.

All from here for now. Off today to see friends with  dinner with some CO pals Monday night. The sun is shining, the wind finally down and the temp a sweaty 9 degrees.  Snow on the ground, but only an inch or two down here in the south county, 4-5 inches further north. I suspect south of here will have less.  Hope to get some good outdoor and wildlife photos over the next couple of days, but we shall see.  If you’re hunting, be safe.  If you’re a CO, be even safer. Over.

23 Nov

DAY 10 in the books

Later today:
Ten days, 96+30 truck hours, consecutive days and I feel great. All done until the day after TG. Actual temp here this morning was 2 degrees and we eventually got up to 13, but chill factor hung around minus ten all day and it snowed with some oomph, especially in the northern part of the county. The day stayed mostly dark and cloudy; Some lakes are iced over, some not, and most rivers have bank-ice in place. We saw quite a few buck poles with deer today and almost 25 live deer, including three bucks in a five-minute period, two of which stood and stared. Also a puffed-up partridge in a tree directly over us on a road. Felt like deep winter all day. But we covered the territory and checked a number of hunters and some complaints.  Photos: upper left, morning snow, not fog; Upper right,  checking tags on the Michigamme River; lower left, north Iron County buck pole; lower right, puffed up partridge, which is about 30 feet up, directly overhead in the middle of the road. Pix follow. Over.
My dates for Tuesday!

My dates for Tuesday

Waiting for hunters to emerge on four-wheelers as dark falls.

Waiting for hunters to emerge on four-wheelers as dark falls.

Night tree.

Night tree.

if you look up bad road in the dictionary, this is the picture you will find.

if you look up bad road in the dictionary, this is the picture you will find.

Ths pat is 30 feet overhead, over the middle of the road, ALL plumpyfluffed and eating seeds.

Ths pat is 30 feet overhead, over the middle of the road, ALL plumpyfluffed and eating seeds.

Last night's snow accumulation.

Last night’s snow accumulation.

Moose marsh.

Moose marsh.

Taking a closer look

Taking a closer look

Northern Iron County deer camp buck pole

Northern Iron County deer camp buck pole

Checking Michigamme river deer tags.

Checking Michigamme river deer tags.

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23 Nov

Another Day Dawns

November 23, 2013 –DAY 10 dawns:  a crispy, nose-hair-stiffening 8 degrees this morn, wind at  15 mph G 29, chill factor WAY BELOW ZED, a day to test the sangfroid (and sangfreud)  of all hunters. Wisconsin’s deer season opens this morning. My hotel is filled with them, the border being only 6 miles distant. Michigan hunters will be lined on our side of the Brule River. When the full-body punkin’ suits start shooting over in Cheesieland the deer will hustle en masse through the river to the imagined safety of Michigan, and be met by more salvos.  If you are down by the river you can actually hear the deer crossing on both sides of where you stand. I will be so glad to be mostly inside the truck with a heater. The only factor that reduces river-crossing slaughter is that much of the land along the river is privately owned and this will reduce the number of ambushers. My last day in a truck up here for the year, but  more ahead below the bridge. I found it odd that I saw not one mention of the JFK assassination on Facebook yesterday. Weird. It was all over the television at night. Over.

22 Nov

Wolves and Stuff

Friday, November 22, 2013 — DAY 9 is in the books. Photos of the last two days follow. This is sure a beautiful place. Over.

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Did someone miss the memo on the sign? See tree in background.

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A five-cougar day. The white one even false-charged the truck!

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Talking to hunters about ORVs.

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Illegal blind, well camouflaged.

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Yet another illegal blind.

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Ancient Yooper trailer blind.

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Hunter chitchat.

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Dope holder.

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Checking records at a deer processor.

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Given to my partner by his mom when he became a CO.

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Yet another processor and this one leads to seizing an illegal deer. A husband shot it on wife’s tag.

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The illegal deer we took from the processor.

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The illegal buck’s rack we got from the shooter.

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Start the day by turning in tickets and swearing warrants.

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Thursday morning we followed this wolf for almost two miles. They like easy travel as much as humans do. Notice the single line of tracks.

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Red splash on brown. Beautiful color in a snowy swamp.

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Snowmobile privy in the middle of nowhere.

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Where is the middle of nowhere? Consult signage.

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Yooper random. As you look closer you see something very odd in this old wreckage.

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THIS is what is in the driver’s seat of the wreck. You decide what I means.

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North Iron County hunting camp, Going to talk to the hunter and check the deer.

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One of very few deer we have seen hanging.

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To cross or not to cross: That is the question.

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Safely across, we enter new turf.

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Tent camp

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Another bridge to cross.

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New ice in the marsh.

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Snowy marsh.

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Duck Creek, a great little trout stream.

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Size 12 boot and fresh wolf track. Huh.

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Two wolves team hunting. One moves through cover and pushes prey out to the animal on the trail. This goes on for miles.

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You can see where the cover wolf sometimes comes out on the trail but quickly goes back to cover.

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Here the wolves stirred up some action. No blood or feathers, but they seemed to be hunting rabbits and pats.

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Evidence of a fracas.

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Feathering the snow.

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Here a smaller third wolf came up from the stream, briefly joined the pair, turned around and went back to the stream.

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Feathers in the white dirt.

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The snowy road. Four fresh inches last night.

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Trout water.

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A beautiful sunset.

Mem

 

20 Nov

On Patrol With the DNR: Day 6

10 point BEAST on the back of a four-wheeler.

10 point BEAST on the back of a four-wheeler.

Grouse decoy in the back seat of the truck.

Grouse decoy in the back seat of the truck.

DAY 6 complete, trucks parked. We rolled this morning to the District office  and picked up the unmarked truck. Then up to Watersmeet to drop some information on cases to the USFS law enforcement officer. Lunch at the casino, then up throug…h Gogebic to Ontonagon County. Were were the only truck on in four counties today and  worked our way up through the B Wolf Management Unit. Ran into one hunter with a license, and heard of a second one  who was out in his blind where a wolf had been seen. We saw 8 deer alive on the day.  Up to Bergland for fuel, then up the 400 road to the Norwich Road  where we found a grandfather and grandson hunting the road, the boy with no license; he claimed it was in his dad’s truck.. Warned the kid and grandpa the boy had to  to have it with  him.. From there north to Onty to the sheriff’s department. En route we encountered a camp of 11 hunters who had taken 8  bucks, 5 of them 8 points or more. Everything tagged properly and tin order.  AFter Onty, we sailed south through Rockland and out the Victoria Cutover where we immediately  ran into two side-by-sides, everything legal, the hunters from around Otsego. Told them I was from Portage and they wanted to know how I got up ther and I told them I walked and we drove away. Shortly thereafter we encountered a vehicle with five hunters, all guns unloaded and in back and  a couple of 50 yr old plus passengers with open intox, which we had them dump. Beginning to darken fast. and up the road we ran across two young men smoking dope, which we confiscated, and with open intox, which we had them dump. Their rifles were unloaded. Gave them a verbal warning and moved on. This is deer season and this was the bewitching hour for hunters coming out of the woods, so we moved on across and reversed our route and stopped at a truck parked up a power line. We had seen it earlier and no sign of the hunter yet, so we backed into the weeds and sat on the truck, sensing we might have a loaded gun. What we got was a giant 10-point, the biggest deer the guy had ever shot and he was still shaking so badly he couldn’t use his knife to tag the deer, so we settled him down and watched him take care of it. He should have tagged it in the woods, on the spot, but he was too shook up and we reminded him of the law and moved on.  We followed a vehicle eas and watched him run a stop sign and pulled in behind him and my partner gave him a talking to. Turns out one of our NRC members hunts out of the camp. We then got a call from CO Doug Hermanson. A hunter from Rockland had seen a kid shoot a doe off his bait pile. No doe permits there. The hunter called the RAP line who called Doug who called us and we went to the house and retrieved the deer from the family. Dad will get a ticket for failure to supervise, the 14 yr old, who just finished hunter safety lost his deer, but we told them it would go to a needy family, and instead of a $1500 fine, they would just lose the animal to a good cause. Then we shot south to see an older fellow with cancer, who can’t hunt anymore and who is getting monthly blood transfusions. Not sure why,  but he and his wife have two young grandchildren living with them and neither of them can work. They were very pleased to have the meat. We probably checked 20 or more hunters today, almost all of them doing things right, which is how it should be. The exceptions have been noted. Out again  today.  Photos that follow are from patrol days 5 and 6. Over.

We took the confiscated deer directly to a family who cold use the fresh meat. COs do this routinely and quietly.

We took the confiscated deer directly to a family who cold use the fresh meat. COs do this routinely and quietly.

Largest buck we've seen this season.

Largest buck we’ve seen this season.

The night road we travel.

The night road we travel.

My partner checking a complaint in the dark. We do a lot of work in total darkness.

My partner checking a complaint in the dark. We do a lot of work in total darkness.

Open intox, dope, two young guys. We made them dump the beer, took the weed, sent them on the way.

Open intox, dope, two young guys. We made them dump the beer, took the weed, sent them on the way. Apparently red and blue meet and agree only on dope-smoking?

The Victoria Cutover Road, skateway.

The Victoria Cutover Road, skateway.

Checking rifels and four wheeler registrations on the Victoria Cutover Road.

Checking rifels and four wheeler registrations on the Victoria Cutover Road.

Quick stop at the Ontonagon County Cop Shop.

Quick stop at the Ontonagon County Cop Shop.

This camp had 11 hunters, 8 bucks, five of which were 8 points. They said they passed up several more bucks. Old camp, all successful, all following the rules, all safe, priceless.

This camp had 11 hunters, 8 bucks, five of which were 8 points. They said they passed up several more bucks. Old camp, all successful, all following the rules, all safe, priceless.

Retired Farmington Hills cop doing everything right.

Retired Farmington Hills cop doing everything right.

How's this for a hunting camp with a view. The place is on the precipice of a 150 foot bluff, and straight up.

How’s this for a hunting camp with a view. The place is on the precipice of a 150 foot bluff, and straight up.

Climbing through a gap in the Trap Hills. This is a spectacular part of Michigan known only to a few people.

Climbing through a gap in the Trap Hills. This is a spectacular part of Michigan known only to a few people.

Close up of Onty mud upon a  vehicle.. It is not something to be trifled with.

Close up of Onty mud upon a vehicle.. It is not something to be trifled with.

Lots of activity in the nasty Ontongagon County Clay behind the gate. We followed, went quarter mile and decided to retreat.

Lots of activity in the nasty Ontonagon County Clay behind the gate. We followed, went quarter mile and decided to retreat.

Is the Chevy chevron a stylish form of cross?

Is the Chevy chevron a stylish form of cross?

Really?

Really?


Old timey UP hunting camp

Old timey UP hunting camp

Listening to a hunter's tale

Listening to a hunter’s tale

Deer season ice.

Deer season ice.

Tent Deer Camp cuisine.

Tent Deer Camp cuisine.

Frozen deer hearts

Frozen deer hearts

Chatterroads.

Chatterroads.

Checking a vehicle behind a USFS gate.

Checking a vehicle behind a USFS gate.

Da woods of Gogebic Co.

Da woods of Gogebic Co.

CO Painter and Earth Boy and His Golden .22.

CO Painter and Earth Boy and His Golden .22.

Setting up Blambi

Setting up Blambi

In Florence Wisconsin with Wisconsin Wardens Kelly Crotte (L) and Dustin Gabrelson.

In Florence Wisconsin with Wisconsin Wardens Kelly Crotte (L) and Dustin Gabrelson.

Some weird sights greet one at night when we flick on the flashlights.

Some weird sights greet one at night when we flick on the flashlights.

What pigs leave in their camps: beaver tails, skinned coons, sucker parts, apples, firewood, etc.

What pigs leave in their camps: beaver tails, skinned coons, sucker parts, apples, firewood, etc.

Natural beauty.

Natural beauty.

Making sure rifles are unloaded.

Making sure rifles are unloaded.

The old and the new.

The old and the new.

Hunting Camp Art 4

Hunting Camp Art 4

Hunting Camp art 3

Hunting Camp art 3

Hunting Camp Art 2

Hunting Camp Art 2

Hunting Camp Art 1

Hunting Camp Art 1

CO Doug Hermanson retrieved this human skull up by Bond Falls on opening day or the day after.

CO Doug Hermanson retrieved this human skull up by Bond Falls on opening day or the day after.

A fellow who calls himself the UNDEERTAKER (he picks up carcasses) tells us he's seeing no deer and tries to explain where near the shitholes he hunts. By shitholes, he means the town's water treatment plant lagoons.

A fellow who calls himself the UNDEERTAKER (he picks up carcasses) tells us he’s seeing no deer and tries to explain where near the shitholes he hunts. By shitholes, he means the town’s water treatment plant lagoons.

A hunter from Illinois informs us that a  beaver is damming a river.

A hunter from Illinois informs us that a beaver is damming a river.

Mississippi State Wildlife students are doing predator studies. Stomach are harvested, put in nylons and run through dryers. Then the contents are inventoried.

Mississippi State Wildlife students are doing predator studies. Stomach are harvested, put in nylons and run through dryers. Then the contents are inventoried.

16 Nov

Third Day of Patrols, 2013 Firearms Deer Season

Earth Boy's UFO landing site. Yes we have our eccentrics.

Earth Boy’s UFO landing site. Yes we have our eccentrics.

Tjhi9s dessicated snapper carcass is apparently part of the signaling system in approach control for UFOs.  We were unable to comprehend the technology (or theology)

This dessicated snapper carcass is apparently part of the signaling system in approach control for UFOs. We were unable to comprehend the technology (or theology)

Pink spray paint, a north woods designer's dream medium.

Pink spray paint, a north woods designer’s dream medium.

Who we are.

Who we are.

True story: The conservation officer is on patrol and finds a hunter who has shot a deer, but is too feeble to haul it, so the CO guts it for him and lugs it out to the road where the old fellow will wait to be picked up by his kin. The old guy is smiling and friendly and shaking the officer’s hand and thanking him. Couple of days later, the CO hears a call for help on his county radio, is not far away, informs dispatch he’s on the way, and races to the camp, appearing less than a minute after the emergency summons. “It’s grandpa,” someone tells him. “In the bedroom.” The officer goes in and sees it is the same old guy he helped a couple of days before. He checks his pulse. Nada. And his skin is cooling and all the rest. Suddenly a 50ish guy comes into the room and says, “Who are you?” Conservation Officer Nomenclature. “Get out!” the man barks through tears, “My dad HATED game wardens!!! Get out of our camp!” The officer says calmly, “You grandfather is dead and I can’t leave him until I’m relieved, but he goes out to his truck and waits for others to relieve him. Grandpa HATED game wardens, except of course when they were helping him get what he wanted.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated story from reality (or is it surreal?).
Yesterday we had a guy literally crying about his tickets, compounded by fact that last month  he had been nailed for thefts from camps, and that has not yet been adjudicated. This time both he and his son got tickets for hunting violations and he was in tears about getting help for his “disorder.” He hugged one officer and kept pumping the other one’s hands. This was a sad show of emotional wreckage. Oh, his biggest concerns about the tickets yesterday? Can the CO assure him that his wife won’t find out?
DAY 2 begins soon. Last night I listened to eight hunters “discussing” the proper way to field dress deer and, judging by the discussion, none of them had much experience with it. Most hunters know how to do it, do it, and don’t think about it until next time around. The inn was providing an opening day buffet dinner (for a donation) and all the hunters, multiple ages, jawed and jawed and jawed. Number of deer on the inn’s buck pole? Zip-zero-zilcho, nada. My partner from two days ago yesterday encountered a drunk hunter who ran, causing a chase. The runner was armed with a scoped, high-powered rifle and kept stopping to look back at the pursuit. This could be read in the man’s tracks in the snow. After loading the man, his alcohol was determined to be between 2x and 3x the legal limit. It was almost inexplicable how he could rabbit 1.7 miles through a snowy swamp without falling on his face. When found, he was inside another camp, having a beer “to calm his nerves.” I think a lot of people see hunters as drunken louts, which isn’t fair or accurate. The truth is that very few drink when they hunt, but an alcoholic is an alcoholic and will drink whenever and wherever. We can’t paint all hunters with one brush, though I am often tempted and it makes me sad.
Yesterday around noon we met with some hunters to write bait tickets for gross over-baiting. No problem. They knew it was too much, but as my partner was doing the paperwork we looked up to see one of the guys peeling off his hunting clothes and there was a .45 cal pistol in a holster under his jumpsuit. He holds a valid CCW, but failed to disclose he was carrying when we first met him, which the law requires. He told us he, “Just forgot.”
OK then. Let this day’s games begin. It is supposed to rain. I suppose there is some sort of irony in that forecast..
Saturday, November 16: Back in the barn. Rain all day. Started  this morning with a grandfather road-hunting with his grandson, loaded 20 gauge (slugs) between them. He ran a stop sign, too. The second shotgun was uncased in the back seat. Loaded guns in vehicles… isn’t funny or acceptable. Thence to the D office to check a condemned rifle into the evidence locker. Condemned because it was taken from a drunk hunter yesterday. You drink an hunt, you loose your weapon. Maybe we should do this with drivers too?
After the D office over to a camp where the were shenanigans last year. Naturally none of the 11 people there this time were there last  year, so they didn’t know nuttiin’ eh?  The camp cook was trapping too. They had six deer on their buck… pole. Talked to them about last year and how they pulled out on day 2 of the season. But no, we were here hte whole week, sir. Not after we found untagged deer hanging by blinds and confiscated them, deer we believed belong to this crew.  There was a hurried strategic withdrawal in 2012. Great tent camp, the old fashioned way.
Next we stopped an impaired driver and escorted him back to his camp before the go into serious trouble. And shortly before that a guy came around a sharp turn in our lane, forcing us off the road, so we ran him down. License suspended in W…isconsin and Michigan. And a  shotgun with a filed off serial number in back. Claimed his girlfriend/wife bought the gun a week or so ago, just to have one. Classic throw-down violator weapon, old and single shot 12 gauge. We confiscated the weapon. Wisconsin police will help us determine if it has been reported stolen.
To end on a higher not. Few years back on of the wardens up here wrote a man for 38 trout, early in the season. (Limit of 5). Couple of days later he slammed into an 18-wheeler and perished. Ticket, of course, was dropped. Anonymous comment: God likes trouters who play by the rules. Can’t argue that one! Photo is of a trout stream we crossed yesterday. Looking south, left, and north, right.
Two day out of three we ran into camps where the land was supposed to be federal. The latest plat books, hard copy and electronic, did not show any of this. Which is why you go and look.  Back on the blog  when I can. Over.
Man comes out of the woods on a four-wheeler, violating fedral ORV rules. And he has no helmet and he has a loaded rifle slung over his shoulder. He is not happy, tells  us, "They ought give everything to the Russians." There is some of the stupidest, ignorant, most backward thinking in this country one can imagine.

Man comes out of the woods on a four-wheeler, violating fedral ORV rules. And he has no helmet and he has a loaded rifle slung over his shoulder. He is not happy, tells us, “They ought give everything to the Russians.” There is some of the stupidest, ignorant, most backward thinking in this country one can imagine.

The little sign is in error. There is no gate, and there IS a turnaround. There is also a camp our plat  books don't show.

The little sign is in error. There is no gate, and there IS a turnaround. There is also a camp our plat books don’t show.

A vehicle comes around a corner in our lane, nearly puts us in ditch. We pursue. The man's license is suspended in Wisconsin and Michigan. And he has his girlfriend's shotgun in back ad slugs on the dash. Claims she bought the single-shot 12 gauge a wee or so ago from a pawnbroker in Rhinelander, just to have a gun. Uh, how come the serial numbers are filed off? "Uh, I don't know," he says. This is a classic violator "throw own:" weapon, Single shot, worth nothing, no serial number to trace. The stuff we see.

A vehicle comes around a corner in our lane, nearly puts us in ditch. We pursue. The man’s license is suspended in Wisconsin and Michigan. And he has his girlfriend’s shotgun in back ad slugs on the dash. Claims she bought the single-shot 12 gauge a wee or so ago from a pawnbroker in Rhinelander, just to have a gun. Uh, how come the serial numbers are filed off? “Uh, I don’t know,” he says. This is a classic violator “throw own:” weapon, Single shot, worth nothing, no serial number to trace. The stuff we see. The rifle came with us. You cannot possess a firearm without serial numbers.

Throw-back tent camping. Very cool, and we see less and less.

Throw-back tent camping. Very cool, and we see less and less.

The cook wasn't into deer hunting. The other 10 in camp were.

The cook wasn’t into deer hunting. The other 10 in camp were.

First camp check on Saturday morning, the cook was more into trapping than deer hunting.

First camp check on Saturday morning, the cook was more into trapping than deer hunting.

14 yr old going hunting alone, and driving, both illegal. We sent him back to camp with his folks.

14 yr old going hunting alone, and driving, both illegal. We sent him back to camp with his folks.

Grandpa's slugs.

Grandpa’s slugs.

Our first stop this morning: An old guy with his 14 yr old grandson, a loaded 20-gauge between them and another uncased shotgun in the back seat. Great ethics, gandpa.

Our first stop this morning: An old guy with his 14 yr old grandson, a loaded 20-gauge between them and another uncased shotgun in the back seat. Great ethics, gandpa.

Snowmobile bridge over a fine trout stream.

Snowmobile bridge over a fine trout stream.

Packing for the U.P.

Packing for the U.P.

 

 

Random in Clare

Random in Clare

 

Stashed on State Land. Landowner put his own lock on an illegal gate because people were stealing Christmas trees. He was going to call the DNR...right....

Stashed on State Land. Landowner put his own lock on an illegal gate because people were stealing Christmas trees. He was going to call the DNR…right….

 

Our links to the outside world and backup.

Our links to the outside world and backup.

 

P:at tracks.

P:at tracks.

 

Every four-wheeler trail we follow leads to a blind and massive over bait. The law allows 2 gallons.

Every four-wheeler trail we follow leads to a blind and massive over bait. The law allows 2 gallons.

 

At night on the four-wheeler.

At night on the four-wheeler.

 

QUOTE: "Oh, a little over two gallons, I guess."

QUOTE: “Oh, a little over two gallons, I guess.”

 

Subtle.

Subtle.

 

 

11 Nov

Adding to Finnegan’s Wake

As the Author Himself might have related a CO’s encounter with violators during deer season (as it might have appeared in Finnegan’s Wake, and with my apologies to Mr. James Joyce, Himself).

“Aye, bettoon the blaettherers, the goos, and all their banks from Banagher, the lads are facing down the mouldystoneed botheared, denying all, hearing none, doing as they please, half of em crawsick and noodynaddy, or spoutin’ arthin suir sloother, gatching for their mates, we tell them twig it, lads, what was going on here this moment,  your wee crans, not ere yesterweek and don’t be thinking of legging a  bail from the hames at hand.

Translation: All right, between boasters, fools and all their super-lies (whoppers), the COs are confronted by drunks mumbling and partially dead or spinning lies, half of them hung-over or hesitant in speech one moment and absolutely certain in the next, showing off for their pals, and we tell them get to the point boys, what’s happening her right now,  none of your little dodges and tricks, and not the week before last, and don’t be thinking of making a run for it from this mess you’ve made.

Or something like this. The words won’t matter, the attitudes and body language and tones will reveal all for what it is, not what it’s purported to be.

Over.

11 Nov

History and Help Needed

oldphoto2

Unidentified Conservation Officer. Anyone know who he is? The photo is said to be from the Mancelona area.

Randy Clarke and I have been trying to help the DNR Law Enforcement Division compile a list of all the men and women who have ever worn the badge of conservation officers for the state. We recently acquired a photo said to be from the Mancelona area, (north of Kalkaska). If you can identify the CO in the photo, please send an email via the website. Thanks, Much.

 

In other matters, Randy just found a state report from 1895 which contains some very interesting information about conservation officers.

“It has been easy enough heretofore to secure the conviction of alien or non-resident violators in the Upper Peninsula, but successful prosecution of residents have been few and far between. Consequently the conviction of resents of Delta and Dickinson Counties obtained this month with no unusual trouble indicates to me the growth of a healthy sentiment, which in time will mean much more for game preservation. The winter is now drawing to a close has been, like it’s predecessor, one of unusual hardship for the very poor, and this fact has greatly stimulated the violation of game laws. The investigation of several complaints this month proved the violators were taking  fish and game contrary to the law, it is true,  but for the sole purpose of obtaining food. In instances of this kind, where arrest would only mean additional suffering and county charge, I am frank in stating the offenders have  been simply reprimanded. It is my opinion that those who take fish and game to keep the wolf from the door, and who do not waste it or sell it, are not the ones who exterminate or are likely to exterminate our fish and game. They may contribute in some small measure, but in times of  distress I feel that the end justifies the means.”

I see this as clear-minded leadership, putting the buck right on the chief warden’s desk and reflecting a kind of common sense often uncommon in our leaders. 1895, 118 years ago, and we think we moderns have a lock grip on smarts and such? FYI, our COs today know who in their communities are hurting and continue this policy of reprimands rather than citations when the circumstances permit and warrant. Course some one with a #$50K truck, new snowmobile, four wheeler, $500 blind and brand new weapons, and all the toys of course would have a hard time making the case of hardship. All COs  maintain lists of individuals who can use confiscated fish or game and I’ve participated in too many deliveries to count. It is so routine to help folks the officers rarely talk about it. They just do it, and as far as I’m concerned this qualifies as true thoughtful public service. Michigan is fortunate to have so many fine officers working in our mutual behalf. Next time you meet on, tell them you appreciate what they do.  Back to loading the truck. Over.

10 Nov

Next Year’s Baraga Co Digs.

Here tiz. Over.

May-Nov 1, 2014

May-Nov 1, 2014

10 Nov

Saddling Up

It is always a challenge to gather gear for my trip north to work with COs. Have had deer seasons in the 70s and in the teens. No snow, and 25 inches overnight. You have to prep for everything! Photos capture the start of the process.  Over.

Outerwear.

Outerwear.

Other stuff.

Other stuff.

Body cover.

Body cover.

Sundry gear

Sundry gear

Da  Boots N Fart Sack

Da Boots N Fart Sack

 

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